Trails 2000 is a non-profit organization in Durango that many locals associate with sustainable trail design, construction and maintenance practices. Others might disagree, and pitch some examples.
Given Trails 2000’s local popularity and the likelihood that people will continue giving them money for the cause, it is reasonable for donors to expect that some of their money will be spent on trail-related expenses.
More specifically, what is Trails 2000 doing with its revenues from fundraising? Looking at their most recent IRS Form 990 financial returns filed in 2011 (they are delinquent on their return for 2012), about 7.7% was spent on actual ‘trail expenses’.
Yet a recent comparison of IRS Form 990 data from various trail organizations in Colorado shows that Trails 2000 lags behind its counterparts in its expenditures towards trail expenses and events.
The Colorado Trail Foundation, Gunnison Trails and the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association all allocated more towards trails expenses than Trails 2000, at 7.3% more, 1.3% more and 30% more, respectively.
Trails 2000’s IRS Form 990 financial return for 2011 shows that out of a budget of $151,159 dollars, about 7.4%, or $11,217 dollars was spent on ‘trail expenses’. At the same time, Trails 2000’s Executive Director Mary Monroe Brown was paid 36% of the budget at $55,360 dollars.
Knowing that Trails 2000 relies mostly upon the work of volunteers to do maintenance and trail construction, how was the $11,217 dollars in ‘trail expenses’ for 2011 spent, exactly?
Looking back, Trails 2000 did spend some money in 2011 on renting an excavator to reroute Stacy’s Loop. They also spent some money on signage and benches in Horse Gulch.
With that said, we may never know what all the money was spent on, because Mary Monroe refuses to go on the record about anything for Horse Gulch Blog, and Trails 2000’s Treasurer Terryl Peterson did not return this blogger’s phone call.
In 2013, a more recent trail that Trails 2000 partially planned out and subcontracted the building of in Horse Gulch called The Scratch, aka Snakecharmer, was all paid for indirectly by the City of Durango. The City approved the project, and then gave the money to Trails 2000 to spend on a crew leader, a griphoist and signage. Snakecharmer budget request, Trails 2000